Ex-Tibetan Rigpa Student Really Speaks Out

Objet : How Did It Happen: Response to Dzongsar, Responding to Bernie:

Yesterday Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche sent a letter to Bernie S in reply to a letter Bernie sent to him last August. The August letter was published on the How Did it Happen Blog and a link to it was posted here. Rinpoche requested that we also post a link to his reply. It begins with ….

Dear Bernie,

I am sorry for not responding much sooner to your letter of 23rd August. The main reason is that I’m just so lazy but also pretend to be busy – a pretence that ends up actually making me busy. In fact, I had started to respond to your letter months ago but somehow never got around to finishing this return letter till now.

However, I want to assure you that, because the Buddhadharma and especially the Vajrayana are dear to my heart, I do pay attention as much as time allows to what you and others write. So, from my heart, I want to offer my sincere appreciation for the great effort and thoughtfulness you and many others have been putting into the dialogue of the past seven months. …

Read the rest of the letterhere.

The story so far:

Sogyal is ‘disgraced,’ has gone into hiding and unlikely to come back, so a very exciting vacancy has opened up for the right lama: high-status, traditionally qualified, but modern, cool, approachable and almost painfully hip.


Now, who might fit the bill?…….


But there’s a problem: the previous incumbent turned out to be a massive pervert, but no matter how deranged his behaviour became, not a single lama seemed to mind in the slightest, we just kept turning up as if everything was absolutely fine and now people are asking a lot of very awkward questions.


So, how could a suitable candidate polish his CV, soothe anxieties and deflect all this embarrassing attention at the same time? It can’t be that difficult, some of these people are what you used to call ‘Dzogchen junkies’, by now they’re probably desperate for a replacement dealer, they’ll believe almost anything.


What about a little self-deprecating humour to start with, ( Hey guys , I can laugh at myself, see?  so I’m not like Sogyal, you can trust me )


Then a modicum of tepid criticism of Sogyal for not ‘warning’ students…..because, well, he’s gone anyway……but under no circumstances mention the serious damage he did to so many of his students by decades of appalling sexual abuse, violence, and psychological torture…….because that would only start them asking questions again, like: “you mean he should have warned us about…..that?”.


Only talk about nice non-abuse related subjects: exciting but unquantifiable things like Dzogchen, the Nature of Mind (always a winner) and Samaya.  Get in touch with your inner Trungpa: use rugged key-words like ‘responsibility’ ‘choice’ ‘sacrifice’ ‘biggest adventure’ ‘liberating decision’ and so on, as if being a Rigpa member was a heroic, spiritual version of joining the elite Special Forces and being repeatedly attacked by a violent sexual predator was like an assault-course…..tough yes, but ultimately character-building in a wholesome, Vajrayana kind of way.


Flattery works too: don’t forget to say how impressed you are by all Sogyal’s students, throw in some ’Pure Perception’ detergent, it removes those embarrassing, stubborn moral stains that no amount of ordinary rational thinking can.


Patronize them a bit, but not too much, tell them they’re all good people but they’re responding very emotionally, negatively or defensively.


Now, skirt round the issue of ‘qualifications’…..use it to plug the book instead.


Then tie it all up neatly with references to Sogyal’s ‘Manifestation’ ( because of course he’s really a Buddha….get it?) and hint that it was all part of the plan all along, part of ‘the bigger picture.’


So, there you go…..definitely not a cult at all, you said so yourselves in that blog after all.


No sexual abuse, no violence or humiliation, and please, no need involve the law, nothing to see here, just move along now…….let’s all just get back to business as usual: you having your ‘egos crushed’……by me instead.


Job’s as good as in the bag.

Written Anonymously – from another escapee from Tibetan Buddhism, all the way out.


Published by

Christine A. Chandler

Christine, A. Chandler, M.A.; C.A.G.S. -licensed as a certified social worker, psychologist and family systems therapist, specializing in the areas of dysfunctional systems and sexual abuse. Chandler also spent nearly thirty years as a practicing Tibetan 'Buddhist'; six of those years taking care of the handicapped son of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, giving her unique access to all the celebrity Tibetan lamas of the Kagyu and Nyingmapa sects, and their western inner circles, as well as the back-stage of their theatre and deceptions, created for the western world. It was not until she managed to extricate herself from these lamas and their guru-worshipping influences, that she realized she had actually been in an authoritarian, thought-controlling religious cult that disguises itself as representing the 'highest teachings of the Buddha'': the 'diamond vehicle' of Vajrayana Tantric Lamaism; but using the same techniques and engaging in the same destructive behaviors found in the most dysfunctional of sexually abusive family systems: those that use religion to justify their abuse.

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